Analytics, mobility strengthen SAP's APAC standing

As companies begin to loosen their purse strings and chase top-line growth, the German software vendor is looking to chime in with their suite of analytics, CRM and mobility offerings.

German software vendor SAP is turning to its analytics, CRM (customer relationship management) and mobility products to enhance its growth in the Asia-Pacific region which, together with Latin America, are driving the company's growth, reveals a company executive.

Stephen Watts, president of SAP Asia-Pacific and Japan, identified the three offerings as key to the company's value proposition to customers, particularly in this region. Analytics, in particular, is clocking the "fastest growth" in SAP's fourth quarter earnings report, he said in an interview Tuesday with ZDNet Asia.

Watts noted that the company's in-memory high-performance analytic appliance is garnering strong interest globally as well as in the region. This interest spans all vertical industries, he added, as companies are trying to come to grips with their burgeoning data and the appliance is touted to streamline datacenter sprawl and provide "real-time" data analysis for all employees, as and when they need it.

With the inclusion of mobility in analytics, companies are now able to "untether" their workforce from their desks and push business-critical information to their mobile devices, regardless of the hardware manufacturers.

Watts said: "Mobility offerings should never be a vendor-driven decision but a customer-driven one."

Furthermore, he noted that as more Asian companies look for top-line growth, establishing closer interactions and relationships with their customers will emerge as a key priority. To this end, he said SAP's CRM products have seen growing demand.

Hiring and retaining talent are also ongoing challenges enterprises in the region have to face, he noted, adding that this is driving demand for the vendor's human capital management tools.

Asia key growth driver
Asked if Asia will lead all regions in terms of growth for the company, Watts said the region, together with Latin America, will play key roles in driving SAP forward.

Citing revenue and growth figures specific to Asia-Pacific, he expressed confidence in the future and said the company's reputation remains strong here.

According to Watts, SAP's software and software-related services revenue for the fourth quarter 2010 grew 26 percent to 495 million euros (US$674.59 million), while total revenue saw a 23 percent growth to 574 million euros (US$782.25 million).

In comparison, globally, the company's software revenue grew 35 percent to 1.5 billion euros (US$2.04 billion) over the same period, while its software and software-related services revenue rose 20 percent, SAP said.

Watts said fourth-quarter 2010 software sales was the company's "biggest quarter in its history", indicating that customers in the region are still looking to SAP to accelerate their business processes despite the company's recent legal problems with rival Oracle.

SAP in December was ordered to pay US$1.3 billion plus interest to Oracle for copyright infringement committed by a third-party maintenance company, TomorrowNow, that it had acquired in 2005. The German software vendor will not contest the lawsuit but is planning to go to court to reduce the amount of penalties awarded, which it has said is "disproportionate and wrong".

"The lawsuit and verdict has no impact on the market we play in," Watts said. "We have already made provisions within our finances to pay the full penalty of US$1.3 billion, plus interest, and we're not going to get worse in subsequent quarters."